Released over twenty years ago in Japan, the first Generation of Pokémon games kicked off what would become a worldwide phenomenon. Many fans of the series today got their start with either Blue, Red or Yellow version, and many of the Pokémon introduced in those games are still relevant today. There have been hundreds of additions made to the original roster of 151 Pokémon in the last two decades. Though plenty of the originals aren’t as useful as they once were, fans still love to collect them for nostalgic purposes.
Many of these Gen I Pokémon have become common as the games have progressed. But if you were to turn the clock back a bit, you’d find that trainers in Gen I had it pretty tough when it came to locating and catching some of the more interesting Pokémon out there. Be it availability, version exclusiveness, the necessity for trades or just low encounter and catch rates, plenty of Gen I Pokémon were tough to get a hold of.
We’re going to look at some of the toughest Pokémon to find and catch in Gen I and go over where and how you’d go about getting your hands on these.
Here are 25 Gen I Pokémon that are impossible to catch and how you can go about catching them.
25 Don’t Blink
It might not seem like it, but to veterans of the series, Abra is one of the trickiest Pokémon to catch and one of the hardest to track down. The only reason you’d be interested in this little guy is for its evolved forms. Alakazam is one of the strongest Psychic-type Pokémon in Gen I, and it can really help you get out of a pinch.
The easiest way to get your hands on one of these is to gamble.
Abra can be won for either 120 or 180 coins in the Celadon City Game Corner, depending on which version of the game you have. Other than that, you can find it on both routes 24 and 25. The problem there is that it’s a fairly uncommon find in both areas, and while it has a very favorable catch rate, its only move is teleport – essentially guaranteeing it’ll flee if you don’t catch it right away.
24 That’s A Little Farfetched
It might not be the most useful or most notable member of Gen I, but you’ll need to get your hands on a Farfetch’d if you want to catch all 151 and complete your Pokédex. Both a Normal and Flying-type, Farfetch’d doesn’t evolve into anything else, but has a fairly distinct design regardless – which might’ve caught some players’ eyes off the bat. Farfetch’d is one of a handful of Pokémon on this list that can only be acquired by trade in the original games. In order to add this little critter to your party, you’ll have to first get your hands on a Spearow (a much, much easier task) and then trade it to a female NPC.
23 Digging up Ancient History
We’re going to go on and talk about two of the trickier Pokémon to obtain on this list, Kabuto and Omanyte. These are both incredibly rare Pokémon, and some that might only be acquirable via a trade with another game depending on the players’ choice. At one point in the game, the player can choose either the Dome or Helix Fossil. Should they choose the former, they’ll get Kabuto, the latter choice gives them Omanyte – each being the only ones in the game. Regardless of the choice made, the only way to get the other half of this prehistoric Pokémon duo would be trading with either another copy of the game you owned (unlikely) or a really generous friend. Both are pretty daunting tasks, which makes this such a potentially hard catch.
22 I’ll Fight You Or It
A very similar situation to the Kabuto and Omanyte one that we recently went over, Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan are two of the most interestingly designed, and exclusive Pokémon in the first generation. Both fighting-types and the complete opposites of one another, these two knuckleheads are made available to the player after they clear out the Fighting Dojo in Saffron city. Though no longer a gym, it still takes challenges.
Once the Blackbelts are all defeated, the player has the choice of either of these hard-hitting Pokémon martial artists.
So the same problem then arises. Regardless of the choice made, the player will be missing out on one of these exclusive Pokémon. A trade is essentially the only way to guarantee you get both of these guys.
21 The Many Faces Of Eevee
Eevee is often overlooked in the Pokémon series. It’s a popular Pokémon sure, but it’s most notable for its various evolutions, making it an incredibly versatile and covetable creature. It’s a pretty easy find and catch nowadays, but back when the games were first released, there was only one way to get your hands on an Eevee.
You can’t just go out roaming and snag this coveted Pokémon.
You can find a pretty generous NPC in the Celadon Condominiums. That NPC will talk to you for a while and afterwards, gift you an Eevee – which just so happens the only way you can obtain it in the games. A huge part of any RPG is going around and talking to any NPC you can. Player’s that don’t do this are more likely to miss out on great gifts like this.
20 Needle In A Power Plant
Alright, we’re going to now touch upon our first game exclusive Pokémon, Electabuzz. Electabuzz is one of a handful of Pokémon in the first generation that were either available in Blue or Red version. In this case, it’s the latter. As you can imagine, a similar quandary arises similar to the fossil and fighting Pokémon we previously mentioned. Though not nearly as rare as our two previous entries, Electabuzz can only be found in one area in the game; the Power Plant. What’s more is that it’s very hard to find, and has a fairly low encounter rate. Add in a catch rate of 45, and the fact that it’s one of the stronger Pokémon in its area, and you’ve got a real challenge on your hands.
19 Seeing Red
Another first on our list – but surely not our last – is the frustrating phenomena that are Safari Zone Pokémon. The Safari Zone is a cool enough concept; with players having the opportunity to go into a secluded area in the game and go around catching Pokémon that can only be found in that environment.
The biggest problem here is how uncommon most of these Pokémon are.
Tauros can be found in the Safari Zone’s North and East areas, where it ranges from being an uncommon to rare Pokémon. But finding it is just one problem. The other, of course, is actually catching this mammoth creature. The Safari Zone doesn’t allow for battles. So players are only given the option of either throwing bait or rocks at the Pokémon they encounter. With a catch rate of 45 (5.9% at full health), this is an incredibly difficult task that would frustrate any trainer.
18 You’ll Have To Swallow Your Pride
Trading away a Pokémon could easily be one of the hardest decisions you make as a trainer. Then again, it could be an incredibly easy one. It all depends on how fond you are of the Pokémon you’re about to let go of. In the case of acquiring Lickitung, it’ll cost you a Slowbro, an evolved form that takes a considerable investment in order to obtain in the first place. There is an alternative in Yellow though, but it really isn’t all that easier. Actually, you could argue that this method is harder. You can find some Lickitung in Cerulean cave, but the chances of you finding one are pretty low, and would most likely take a considerable amount of time to do.
17 The Only Choice You Have
Staying on the topic of trades, our next Pokémon is one that can only be acquired via a trade – which makes things a little tricky. Golem was a pretty solid Pokémon to have in Gen I. As a Rock/Ground-type it didn’t have all that many weaknesses, and had a fairly high defense.
As enticing as an option Golem is, there’s only one way to get your hands on one.
Trainers who found themselves coveting this Pokémon had one major obstacle to get over; finding a trading partner. In order to evolve your Graveler, you’d need to first trade it away and then ideally get it back in another trade. This way is easy for those with trading partners they trust, but for those with eyes in the back of their heads, trading away a beloved Pokémon can be a hard decision to make.
16 Firey Commodity
In Gen I, what you saw was what you got with Magmar. It received a baby form in Gen II, and an evolution later on in Gen IV, but it was already a solid Pokémon without those additional lines in its evolutionary tree. Magmar was one of the best Fire-type options in Gen I, and this made it quite the coveted creature. But many trainers struggled to get their hands on this uncommon fire breather. There’s only one place to catch a Magmar in Gen I, and what’s more, it can only be done in Blue Version. The Pokémon Mansion is where you’d have to go in order to snag this guy. It can be found on the first and basement floors, but be warned; it’ll take a lot of searching to find – unless you have incredible luck. What makes this all that much harder of a catch is its incredibly low catch rate.
15 Separation Trouble
We’re back to the Safari Zone with this next entry. This time we’re going to focus on Kangaskhan; a very interestingly designed Pokémon, and one that – due to how hard it is to track down – is an incredibly rare find for even the most tenacious and patient trainers out there. You can find Kangaskhan in various sectors of the Safari Zone, though it’s a fairly tall task.
You’d think a Pokémon this big would be easier to track down.
It’s a rare find in pretty much every Gen I game. The encounter rate is as low as it could be and what’s worse is that you have to catch it using the Safari Zone’s rules. That means no Pokémon battles to weaken it – only rocks and bait.
14 Back To The Future
Let’s just get this out of the way right now; there’s no way to catch Aerodactyl normally in Gen I. In fact, this would be a continuing theme throughout the rest of the games, as this prehistoric creature can’t be found in the wilderness. So, you might ask, how would you go about acquiring Aerodactyl when you can’t just go out and find one? You use a fossil. Yup, the only way to get your hands on this guy is to revive it from some Old Amber which is found in the Pewter City Museum. You’ll need HM 01 (Cut) first, but as soon as you receive this key item it’s off to the Pokémon Lab to claim your prize.
13 Now You See It, Now You Don’t
A strange looking Pokémon, Mr. Mime has certainly left an impression on fans since first debuting all those years ago. It has since gotten a baby form, but most will remember just how strange and off the Psychic-type looked upon their first encounter with it. With that unique of a design, you can bet that plenty of trainers out there wanted to add it to their party.
The problem here is that you have to catch one tricky Pokémon in order to get another.
Sadly, you can’t really catch Mr. Mime in the original games. However, you can very easily acquire one via trade. On Route, there’s a trainer willing to give you their Mr. Mime for an Abra (or Clefairy based on what version you’re playing). Catching either can be a pretty daunting task – making acquiring this Pokémon something of a pain.
12 Got You In A Vice
In Gen I, Pinsir was exclusive to Blue version. So those with a copy of Red had to either find themselves a friend willing to trade this guy away, or buy themselves a second copy of the game along with another Game Boy. Both options are fairly tedious. Even if you could track down someone with another version of the game, and they did, in fact, have a Pinsir, there’s a good chance they wouldn’t give it away easily. That’s because this Pokémon is not only a tough find in the Safari Zone (yes, another one of those), but it’s also one of the most expensive Pokémon prizes at the Celadon Game Corner. Gambling your hard earned money away and leaving it all up to chance is almost definitely a harsher, harder method than actually going out into the Safari Zone and trying your luck there.
Something of a counterpart to Mr. Mime, Jynx left her own impression upon first debuting in Gen I, and was memorable to most fans, though not necessarily for the right reasons. But we won’t get into that now. No, what’s important here is that Jynx is one tough Pokémon to track and catch.
There’s only one way to get your hands on this controversial Pokémon.
First, you’ll need to have a Poliwhirl on you and head off to Cerulean City. Next, find the NPC looking to trade their Jynx for the aforementioned Poliwhirl and then voila, you’re done. Trades can be a bit of a pain in the older games, especially when they’re the only way of getting your hands on a specific Pokémon.
10 You’ve Got To Spin The Wheel
What makes Porygon so special out of any of the other 24 Pokémon on our list? Plenty, but for now let’s just concentrate on how it’s the only Pokémon in the game that you have to gamble for in order to add to your party. The Celadon City game corner has a ton of interesting and hard to find Pokémon, all there for the taking. The only problem is that it’s all up to chance, and it’d probably be easier to catch a Pokémon at full health than to string together a series of wins at the slot machine. Porygon costs 6500 coins in Red and Blue and the price is bumped up to an eye-popping 9999 coins in Yellow.
9 A Very Useful Gift
One of the more unique and memorably designed Pokémon of Gen I, Lapras is a covetable Water/Ice-type that can really give your party that extra edge you may be looking for. It’s a much easier find now than it was when it was initially introduced though. In fact; it was one of the rarest Pokémon in the entire first Gen.
You absolutely can’t find this Pokémon out in the wild, making it quite the tough catch.
Lapras is given to the player by an NPC working at the Silph Co. That’s about the only way you can get your hands on one. It’s well worth adding to your party though. Aside from its capabilities in battle and usefulness when going off against the Elite Four, it can also learn Surf – which comes up more times that you’d care to count.
8 Cutting Through The Competition
Very similar to the situation with Pinsir, Scyther is a version exclusive Pokémon in Gen I. Like a handful of previously mentioned Pokémon, Scyther is exclusive to the Safari Zone, as well as the Celadon City Game Corner. It’s a fairly expensive Pokémon if you’re trying to win it via the slots; costing 6500 coins in Red and 5500 in Yellow. But if you thought that was bad then just try finding it in the Safari Zone. It’s an incredibly rare find and much like any other unique Pokémon found in there, has a fairly low catch rate. As you’ve probably already guessed, this means that baiting this frightening Pokémon into domestication is no easy task.
7 Sleeping On The Job
At first glance, you might not be all that impressed with Snorlax. A round, bulbous and lazy Pokémon, it doesn’t seem to be nearly as useful as it actually is in battle. Yet, it’s an absolute tank that has retained a staple of many players’ parties for years and will likely remain so in the years to come. It’s been a historically rare Pokémon to encounter, with Gen I starting this trend – giving the player only two opportunities to snag one.
Snorlax is undoubtedly one of the most exclusive and toughest Pokémon to catch in the entire series.
Prior to the creation of its baby form, Munchlax, Snorlax was almost exclusively an in-game event Pokémon – usually encountered when blocking a road at some point in various installations. The key to awakening this goliath is the Poké Flute, which will immediately trigger a battle. Beat it twice though, and you lose your chance to add this tank to your party.
6 Caught Between A Rock And A Hard Place
A bulky and intimidating Pokémon, Rhyhorn is as tough to catch as it is to take down in battle. If you were to go with one Ground-type addition in your party during Gen I, then this would’ve been it. Rhyhorn has a great balance of attack and defense and has a fantastic evolution in Rhydon. Exclusive to the Safari Zone, Rhyhorn sports a slightly more favorable encounter and catch rate than other Pokémon found in the area, but isn’t attainable from the Game Corner. The key to catching this Pokémon involves some luck and intuition – and of course a good deal of trial and error. Trainers need to balance out throwing some bait along with the odd rock before finally going for the catch.
5 Playing The Waiting Game
This next Pokémon might not look like much initially, but is more than worth the effort for trainers who don’t mind putting in some extra effort for a highly effective party member. Dratini is available in the Safari Zone as well as the Game Corner, but isn’t all that easy to acquire in each area.
You’ll need to put in the effort to catch and train Dratini if you want one of the strongest Pokémon of Gen I.
It costs you a pretty 2800 coins or 4600 depending on what version of the game you’re playing. In the Safari Zone, the only way to find one is via the Super Rod. Just be ready to siphon through a plethora of Magikarp, Krabby, Psyduck, and Slowpoke in order to get it. It has a pretty low catch rate as well, so that just adds to the whole frustrating experience.
4 A Glitch In The System
Of all the Pokémon on this list, this is one that you’ll want to stay away from. Seriously, there’s no upside to catching MissingNo. A fairly famous glitch Pokémon, MissingNo. can appear in six variant forms. The simplest and easiest way to encounter this anomaly is by going to Viridian City, talking to the old man who gives the catching tutorial and then immediately flying to Cinnabar Island and then surf along the island’s border. Eventually, you’re going to encounter MissingNo. which you can very well catch. However, aside from the item duplication glitch catching this Pokémon gives you, it can also corrupt your game – permanently. So there you have it. Proceed at your own risk.
3 No Chansey In Kanto
Much like Snorlax, Chansey is a tank Pokémon that takes much more damage than it can actually deal. Even in Gen I when stats weren’t all that fleshed out it was most notable for its HP and Special. It might not be as rare to come by in-game as Snorlax, but then again, those are pretty much presented to you plain as day. If you want to find yourself a Chansey, it’ll take some work. You have two options, either going to the Safari Zone and going through the arduous task of catching one there – which isn’t recommended due to its ridiculous catch rate of 30 (3.9% at full health) – or you can go and find one in Cerulean Cave. The latter choice by no means ensures a more favorable encounter rate, but it does allow for Pokémon battles, which makes even the toughest Pokémon that much easier to catch.
2 None Shall Pass
It’s arguably the most iconic and sought-after Pokémon in all of Gen I, as well as one of the rarest out there. Mewtwo is a legendary Pokémon that the developers put in the game as something of a reward for defeating the Elite Four. Found inside the Cerulean Cave, the cave itself is blocked off by an NPC and isn’t made available to the player until they’ve become champion. Mewtwo itself has become synonymous with the Master Ball, though it shouldn’t be.
While it does make things easier, you don’t need a Master Ball in order to catch Mewtwo.
With a catch rate of just 3, catching this Legendary is certainly a challenge the Master Ball would render redundant. But you can catch it the old fashioned way; via status effects and reducing its HP. Just don’t expect things to go as smoothly as you’d envision them going. So while you absolutely can get this Pokémon without using the Master Ball, it’d be much easier to just go ahead and use the rare item.
1 Playing Hide And Seek
Mew was without a doubt the most sought-after Pokémon in Gen I, and for good reason; it wasn’t anywhere to be found. Briefly mentioned alongside Mewtwo, Mew’s location was a mystery. Things got to the point where players desperation to find the Pokémon led to the infamous rumor claiming that Mew was under a truck close to the S.S. Anne. But the sneaky devs at Game Freak found a way to hide Mew deep within the game’s code.
Though it was only “normally” available via event giveaways in Gen I, there’s a glitch that circumvents all of that.
The process is long but worth it. First, you have to have an Abra on you and have routes 24 and 25 available to you. Note that you must do this early on in your game or this method won’t work. Save your game and hold off on saving again until you’ve caught Mew. Then, battle your way across Nugget Bridge and make your way to the very left of the screen. You’ll have to avoid a battle with an NPC trainer hiding in the tall grass. So keep your finger on the start button and quickly press it just before the trainer has the chance to notice you, and then use your Abra to teleport out of there. Make your way back to Route 24 and battle the three trainers you first encounter on the left half of the rocky path’s barricade. Then face the youngster standing on his own but make sure to leave a few spaces in between you two, as standing too close to him will crash your game. After defeating the youngster, use Abra to teleport back to the Pokémon Center, go inside and then go back to Nugget Bridge. After walking for a bit your pause menu will open on its own. Once you close it you’ll face a Level 7 Mew.
There you have it. At that point, it’s all about weakening it, or if you’re feelingly lucky, you can try to catch it at full health as it sports a fairly favorable catch rate of 45.